Vroom ($VROOM), the New York-based used car selling platform, is reportedly about to charge into the marketplace with an IPO in the next few months, according to the Wall Street Journal. But its data suggests that it will need to rev its engine before it can really impress investors. 

First off, Vroom's headcount has seen it add about 100 staffers year-over-year, and an acceleration leading up to a December 2019 funding round. Late last year, in a coincidental, brilliant stroke of market timing, Vroom took on more than $250 million in funding to fuel growth. Backers include a mix of private equity, institutional and venture capital investors. 

Job postings are down, at the same time that headcount has risen. This could be a combination of factors - like job postings being removed from the web once the positions have been filled - but also the likely factor that Vroom, like so many other startups, is slashing job postings as it recalibrates for whatever the new normal is, next, as states work to ease off lockdown restrictions. 

It looks as if - based on Vroom's inventory, which we can track via its website - there are a lot fewer people selling used cars on the platform right now. It's not unique to Vroom; competitor CarMax is seeing sliding prices and inventory on its website, as people who were holding out for a higher sale are now reducing expectations.

The IPO of competitor Carvana was so successful, market watchers told the Journal this was part of what drove Vroom to speed its offering to the marketplace. And, because Carvana is currently in the middle of a public spat with employees who say the company is forcing people to return to work and risk their lives in an unsafe manner, Vroom may be able to capitalize on public perception declining at its top competitor. 

Now that social distancing has the potential to become the norm for months, if not years, into the future, the idea of getting glad-handed by a used-car salesman is increasingly unappealing - and that could make Vroom more appealing to both investors and new users. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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